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16" wheels... advantages/disadvantages?

Ron Dame

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I will be picking up a 1980 hopefully soon, it's in great shape but has black steelies and no wheel covers. I'll be putting new wheels on, should I stay with 15's or jump up to 16's? What are teh advantages and disadvantages?

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First...make sure whatever heel you pick clears the calipers...especially if it has the Turner Disc Brake conversion or another conversion done to it.  You also have limited clearance in the front...the rear not so much.  If the front coil springs have compressed (not at all uncommon), they should be replaced to restore ride height or the chances of the tire striking the inner fender edge is greater.  I wouldn't go wider than a 70-series aspect ratio regardless of rim diameter for the front.  Again you have more room to work with in the rear.  Maintain a standard offset rather than one that makes the tires stick out from the fenders or body contact potential increases plus it's better for the wheel bearings.  

With 16" tires you will find a much greater selection of tires available for the car...15" sizes appropriate for older cars are more or less a dying breed with limited selections from most major tire makers.  

Regardless of what you choose, try and make sure you keep the overall diameter as close to factory specs as possible otherwise your speedometer will be inaccurate...probably even more inaccurate than when the car was new.  

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  • 1 month later...

RQB3263/81/305      3263 Had steelies  yrs ago so I replaced them w 16" 07-09 Mustang pictured here ....  they are a great looking wheel and were inexpensive at the time.... they did req adapter/spacers to go from GM pattern to Ford,  avail on line  1 1/4" in front and 1" in rear all good...I got 5 so I have a matching spare..... the tires in pic are 205/60R16 ....I hope to be replacing them with Vogue Gold Line 225/60R16 by end of 2022.... keep up the good work.....BILL

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